While the news from the Shi’a south has shown a positive view of the situation in Iraq, the news from the Sunni Triangle is bleak.
Belmont Club notes that we’ve failed to keep many foreign fighters from escaping Fallujah:
Interestingly enough, the unit being deployed in the Monitor story is the maligned Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, not the Fallujah Brigade, whose position on the embankment now makes any attack against the northwestern ‘Golan’ neighborhood very unlikely, since any assault would have go through the ICDC lines. The impression conveyed is that the cordon around ‘Golan’ is now very loose. The Washington Times reports that any senior foreign fighters have probably escaped the net already although the Monitor and the Mitchell Prothero Associated Press report (Behind Enemy Lines) of yesterday suggests that there are still plenty of “foreign fighters” left.
Even so, it’s clear that any potential killbox in Fallujah has failed to be truly effective. The terrorists running the show (such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi) have likely escaped. The ones who are left are likely cannon fodder.
We needed to take this terrorists out. They are the ones leading the attacks against American troops. They are the ones who are leading this insurrection in the Sunni Triangle. And now they’re free to plan their next set of attacks.
Much of the blame lies not on the soldiers, but on the unwillingness of the upper echelons to treat this situation seriously enough. We wanted to pussyfoot around out of fear of offending the Iraqi people. The problem with this logic is that we’ll face more problems from the lack of security in Iraq than we would have from going into the “Golan” cordon and crushing the terrorists holed up there.
We can’t fight this war in a way that preserves the enemy’s biggest advantage. Our enemy doesn’t care about the rules of war or offending anyone’s sensibilities. They want us to fail in Iraq, and they’ll do whatever they can to disrupt any chance for a peaceful Iraq.
We haven’t lost in Iraq, not by a longshot. However, we’ve just made the job much harder. Taking out a group of Marines is much harder than a lightly-defended convoy. We’ve ceded the high ground to the enemy in this case, and we can’t afford to do that if we want to win this war.